Breaking News: North Korea fires Missile

South Korean military is reporting a North Korean missile test, thigh details on the test are scarce. This is North Korea’s tenth test this year as it looks to push the limits of two newly elected presidents, Trump and Moon. Pyongyang is also likely testing the dynamic of the Korea-US under Moon and Trump.

This is breaking story and will be updated with more details tonight.

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Daily Update: Manchester Statment

On May 22, as an Ariana Grande concert was winding down in the Manchester Arena, an explosion rocked through the foyer of the venue around 10:30 pm. The blast killed 22 people, the youngest an eight-year-old girl by the name of Saffie Rose Roussos (NY Times). Another 59 were wounded in the attack, many under the age of 16 years old. Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, survivors, and their families as they just begin to cope with the senseless actions of those horrifying hours.

The attacker, a 22-year-old British native who was of Libyan descent, died in the attack. At the time of the attack, he was known to British intelligence agencies, but was not under investigation or considered a high risk (The Guardian). Following the attack, police conducted a raid on his residence to collect information vital to the counterterrorism investigation now under way (Sky News). Another was arrested following the attack (The Daily Star).[1]

The attack was widely condemned by political leaders the world over. British Prime Minister Theresa May, in a statement, called the attack “sickening” and said that “the spirit of Britain is far mightier than the sick plots of terrorists” (CBS).  The terror level in Britain has been raised to critical for the first time in almost a decade. American President Donald Trump called the attack a “horrible thing” while chastising the attacker as an “evil loser” (NBC). Korea strongly condemned the attack as well. In a statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Cho Jun-hyuk called the attack “barbaric” and that South Korea “cannot hide shock and anger over the many lives lost” (Yonhap).

We at The Korea Page find the attack appalling and senseless. Any life taken is the shattering of dreams, destruction of possibilities, and elimination of promise from a world in desperate need of all of those things. These feelings are compounded when the target of such asinine violence is children. We also want to express our most heartfelt appreciation for those first responders and citizens who stepped up in a time of desperation to assist strangers in their time of peril. You all are the soft hearts which make Manchester the city it is.

There is nothing that words alone can do but show solidarity to those who are experiencing their hardest times. Words, though powerful, tend to lack the comforting aspect which so many are in need of. To show solidarity with those affected by this tragedy, I implore all you readers to take a moment to reflect and send your thoughts out to Manchester tonight before you go to sleep or this morning before work or before you take a bite of lunch. Where ever we are, let’s show those who wish to harm us that they can and will not break our spirit. As humans, let’s show those who wish to break us apart, that through tragedy we grow, through tragedy we develop into more global and connected citizens. Let our actions speak louder than our words as we all work to assist, in whatever fashion we can, to show the citizens of Manchester that we hold them in our hearts, in our minds, and in our prayers.[2]

[1] I am consciously not listing the names of those involved in the attack in order to keep the focus on those who lost their lives on Monday.

[2] Instead of restarting Daily Updates tonight, I felt this to be more appropriate. Normal posting will resume tomorrow.

Breaking News: North Korea Tests a Missile

North Korea launched a missile about an hour ago, adding pressure to an already volitile situation on the peninsula. Yonhap is reporting that the projectile–it is currently unknown what type of missile was launched–flew 700 kilometers (Yonhap). The missile was launched near the city of Kusong.

South Korea’s newly minted president Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting of the security council following the launch. The military also released a statement saying it “is closely monitoring for proactive movements by North Korea and maintaining all readiness postures” (CNN). This response is typical for South Korea following a launch.

In terms of motivation, the launch is most likely a test of the Trump-Moon dynamic. President Trump has favored a more militaristic and tough approach while Moon favors engagement to denuclearize Pyongyang. This also ensures North Korea is issue number one in the alliance, possibly straining the relationship because of the different approaches.

North Korea also has been politically active.  On May 13, North Korea called for the UN to reconsider sanctions against the country (Yonhap).

Breaking News: South Korea’s New President

Exit polls are saying that Moon Jae-in has won South Korea’s 2017 election with around 41% of the overall vote. The National Election Commission is set to start counting votes and will offically announce a winner in the wee hours of the morning. Once announced the winner, Moon Jae-in will be automatically sworn in and begin his term as president (Korea Times).

Moon’s victory marks a major shift for Korea’s highest office; for the first time in a decade the liberal party has control of the Blue House and the National Assembly. (Will write a longer analysis this week to post.)

Breaking News: North Korea Threatens Intelligence Agencies

North Korea made an interesting threat on Friday. In a statement carried by KCNA, North Korea’s Ministry of State Security vowed a retaliatory strike on the Central Intelligence Agency, America’s foreign intelligence, and the National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s intelligence agency (Yonhap).

“We will ferret out and mercilessly destroy the last of the terrorists,” the statement read. North Korea accuses the CIA and NIS of infiltrating North Pyongyang in an attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un (KCNA).

The threats come days after CIA chief Mike Pomopeo made a surprise visit to Seoul. During his trip, Pompeo visited American military and diplomats in Seoul. He had no plans to visit any Blue House officials or candidates vying to replace Park (NY Times). Other officials who have made trips include Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

*Written on iPhone will update with links to sources tonight.